Government MP crosses over to opposition
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 09 October 2001, 06:33 GMT]
A coalition MP of the Sri Lankan government Tuesday crossed over to the opposition in the Parliament. Mr. Bandula Gunawardena, MP, is a member of the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP), a Sinhala nationalist party, charged that the President is surrounded by a coterie of ministers who are misguiding her. In an address to the house Tuesday morning, Mr. Gunawardena said that the PA is conspiring with the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna to destabilise the country. The MP is the brother of the Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena, the leader of the MEP, is a senior cabinet minister.
With the cross over of Mr. Bandula Gunawardena, the PA-JVP coalition strength is currently 118. The UNP now needs the support of at least seven government MPs to defeat the government when its no confidence motion is put to vote on Thursday.
There are four PA dissidents, including the former cabinet ministers Mr. S. B Dissanayaka, Prof. G.L Pieris and Mr. Mahinda Wijesekera, who have openly opposed the President and her pact with the JVP.
Opposition UNP sources claim that several government MPs are expected to cross over or vote for the no confidence motion against the PA which is scheduled for debate and voting on Thursday.